This paper focuses on a tight carbonate reservoir in a giant field in Abu Dhabi by identifying shortcomings in conventional modeling strategies for geomechanics and demonstrating the benefits of continuous core data to build more reliable 1-D Mechanical Earth Models (MEM).

A 1-D MEM was built from the sonic wireline log, which shows significant difference with a profile of ultrasonic P-wave velocity (Vp) measured on cores. However, results of rock mechanical tests (RMT) on plug samples (including ultrasonic Vp measurements at different stress conditions, and stress-strain curves from triaxial tests) are consistent with the core-based Vp profile.

We investigate the impact of stresses, resolution and fluid saturation on sonic velocities to reveal the possible shortcomings of sonic wireline logs as an input for geomechanical models and the greater relevance of using core based ultrasonic velocities measured on dry cores for the upscaling of static elastic moduli.

Finally we propose an empirical relation to correct sonic wireline logs for geomechanical modeling in offset wells.

The following conclusions can be drawn from this study:

  1. The core based Vp profile, which is highly consistent with the RMT results, ultimately leads to opposed trends in the in-situ horizontal stresses predictions compared to those of a 1-D MEM based on the non-calibrated wireline sonic log.

  2. Only unrealistic reservoir stress conditions could reconcile ultrasonic Vp measured on plugs at different stress states with wireline sonic velocities;

  3. Using a low resolution Vp profile at reservoir stress conditions (combining Vp from plug samples and core based continuous Vp profile), we show that differences in stress only partially explain the discrepancy between velocities measured on plugs and wireline sonic velocities.

  4. Although a conventional Gassman fluid correction could explain the remaining differences between core measurements and the wireline sonic, its practical application would require the detailed knowledge of the rock mineralogy and of the saturation along the well.

  5. Conversely, a profile of the bulk modulus of the rock mineral fraction can be derived from the sonic log and the ultrasonic P-wave velocities measured on dry cores corrected for stresses effects.

  6. Evidences in the drilling data suggest that the discrepancies between the core based sonic velocities and the wireline sonic could be due to natural fractures in the borehole vicinity.

  7. An empirical relationship involving wireline logs only was established to correct the sonic wireline log to enhance the reliability of geomechanical models for offset wells.

These findings have important implications for the practical applications of 1-D MEM, such as the design of hydraulic fractures. Quality control of the sonic logs with extensive data acquired on dry cores reduces the uncertainty when upscaling static elastic properties. Continuous velocity profiles acquired on dry cores are therefore highly valuable to calibrate empirical corrections of sonic logs for geomechanical modeling in offset wells.

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